What does your company want out of its next conference? Sure it’s about sponsorship dollars, securing/maintaining customers, displaying new products and getting the company’s message out, but what type of audience are they looking for? Very few people would say they are looking for a passive audience, just a customer, or even a guest to attend their event—they want participants. Make your audience active participants in what you’re offering, and you’ll find out just how much they have to offer you in return. All conferences should foster a learning process for both parties and the best way to accomplish that is to encourage participation and collaboration.
It is our job as event planners to turn ordinary “attendees” into true “participants.” We need to find ways to help the audience have a powerful, personalized experience. That means engaging people; it means replacing speakers with storytellers and PowerPoint presentations with meaningful opportunities for people to share their stories and experiences. The good news is that we are all on the same page—people do not want to be passive listeners anymore either.
Audience engagement and interactivity is not only necessary but vital in the success of an event. In this age of mobile technology people crave constant stimulation. Interactivity is the norm and technology can work for or against you in a conference setting. If you are not engaging your audience, you run the risk of losing them to a multitude of mobile devices—so don’t try to beat them, join ‘em! Digitize your conference with social, mobile and cloud-based tools that will help increase the value you offer your attendees—and turn them into active participants.
Here are some new ideas to help enhance participation at your next event:
Crowdsourcing: Utilize crowd-sourced content to enhance engagement. A cool new social-video app, Vyclone, allows thousands of people to combine their creative forces at the same time and produce one cohesive, seamlessly edited film that can be used for promotion, during or post event.
Keep it Interactive: Check out Catch Box, the first throwable professional microphone for audience engagement.
Interactive Presentations: SlideKlowd is a fantastic new way to turn boring PowerPoint presentations into conversations by allowing presenters to share their slides with any device, capture real-time audience responses, monitor attention levels and follow up immediately with participants.
Multi “Touch” Points: Reach your audience at multiple levels, even during downtime. Interactive furniture is a fun and modern way to spruce up an otherwise boring lounge.
Event Apps: Apps may not be the freshest idea but are still one of the fastest growing trends in events. Check out Livecube, an enticing interface that offers social interaction, game mechanics, event agendas, networking, polling & surveys to promote participation.